Sweden uncovers 3,700 false positives from faulty Chinese test kits

Sweden uncovers 3,700 false positives from faulty Chinese-made coronavirus test kits

  • Sweden said the PCR kits were from a Chinese company called BGI Genomics  
  • The testing kits were used by Swedes between the months of March and August
  • Mostly, ‘people who had mild symptoms or who didn’t feel any symptoms at the time of the test received false positive results,’ the public health agency said

Sweden’s Public Health Agency said today a faulty test kit had returned some 3,700 false positive results, an error discovered by two laboratories during routine quality controls.

The agency said the PCR kits, which test for an ongoing COVID-19 infection, were made in China by the company BGI Genomics and had been distributed worldwide.

In Sweden, the kits were used by people conducting at-home tests between period March and August, the agency said.

Mostly, ‘people who had mild symptoms or who didn’t feel any symptoms at the time of the test received false positive results,’ the agency said in a statement.

Sweden’s Public Health Agency said the PCR kits, which test for an ongoing COVID-19 infection, were made in China by the company BGI Genomics and had been distributed worldwide (Pictured: PCR kits made by Chinese company BGI Genomics)

It added that it would contact those affected this week, as well as adjusting Sweden’s official number of cases.

‘The faulty test kit has been reported to the Swedish Medical Products Agency. It has been exported by China to many other countries,’ the agency said, adding that it has ‘informed relevant authorities in Europe and the WHO’.

Sweden on Tuesday said it had 86,891 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and 5,814 deaths. 

Lockdown-free Sweden last week recorded its highest death toll in a six-month period for 150 years – with 4,500 of its 51,405 fatalities being Covid-19 related. 

It’s the highest tally from January to the end of June since 1869 when 55,431 people died, largely because of a famine. The population of Sweden then was just 4.1million, compared to 10.3million today.

It should also be noted that Sweden remained neutral during the two world wars, whereas most European countries were experiencing the equivalent of a six-month coronavirus death toll in the course of a single battle 75 years ago. 

People enjoy boat rides, canoe paddling and stand up paddle in the nearly 30 degrees Celsius summer weather at the Palsund canal in Stockholm, Sweden in early August. The country has been unique for its liberal approach to the virus, avoiding locking the country down 

Nevertheless, coronavirus means Sweden’s deaths are around 10 per cent higher than the average over the last five years, the country’s statistics office. 

In April the number of deaths was almost 40 percent higher than average due to a surge in COVID-related fatalities.

Although Sweden has struggled compared to its Nordic neighbours, the country’s per capita death toll is lower than in the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy.  

Sweden has been controversial for its liberal attitude to controlling the pandemic, preferring instead to let run through the population to create a ‘herd immunity.’

Its measures have focused on voluntary social distancing guidance. 

Most schools have remained open and many businesses have been continued to operate to some extent, meaning the economy has fared significantly better than most.

However, the death toll has been higher than in its Nordic neighbours, which opted for tougher lockdown measures.

Norway, with around half the population, has had only around 260 COVID deaths in total.

The economy of Finland also outperformed its larger neighbour in the second quarter, despite a tougher lockdown.

Finland’s gross domestic product shrank around 5 per cent against an 8.6 per cent contraction in Sweden from the previous three-month period.

These figures make for light-reading compared to the 20.4 percent shrinkage in the United Kingdom in the second quarter.

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